Roma manager Jose Mourinho addressed the media ahead of tomorrow night’s first leg of Europa League playoffs with Real Sociedad.
The Portuguese technician was also accompanied by shot-stopper Rui Patricio who held a separate press conference soon afterwards.
“Real Sociedad are an excellent team,” Mourinho told reporters. “They have very few weak spots. Their players, like Oyarzabal, are good and extremely technical.”
“Sociedad have a very good coach and are well organized as a team. They’re hard to break down because they can switch formations at anytime. They’re really a wonderful team to watch. The fact that they’re fourth in LaLiga says a lot about them. I’m sure they have just as much respect for us.”
“I can say that we weren’t lucky with the draw. The level of this year’s Europa League is very elevated,” he continued. “Let’s remember, Sociedad beat United at Old Trafford. That’s the team we’re facing tomorrow.”
Asked about Tammy Abraham, Mourinho replied, “I’m only interested in one version of Tammy – the one who started on the bench with Juventus and by the end of the match was seen celebrating like he’d scored a goal in front of the Curva. That’s the Tammy I want.”
“Abraham can score more goals, but what matters to me is the contribution to the team, I liked his 15′ against Juve, he’s fine. Belotti is also fine. If they didn’t play well in Cremona it’s because they played badly as a team.”
“Against Juve they both played well because the team played well as a whole. That’s what I expect from them tomorrow. During the course of the week I see their determination and willingness to contribute and that makes me happy.”
On the team’s physical endurance in light of a packed schedule, Mourinho commented, “Physically I think we are in very good hands, the athletic trainer and other collaborators are of very high level, even the work that Salvatore [Foti] and I do always takes into account the physical condition of players.”
“Obviously, then the players’ own DNA has an impact on their performance. There are those who can play every three days and those that cannot. Someone like Javier Zanetti could play seven games a week, it was a matter of DNA. There are those can’t handle it or struggle more but I think what matters more than anything else is to play every game with the pressure of wanting to win.”
“Last year we finished sixth in the standings, seventh before I arrived, and sixth the year before. So it doesn’t help, because you get to a point mentally where you don’t feel that pressure anymore. The body and mind get used to this feeling.”
“I can say that we are evolving, last year we lost twice to Juve, Milan and Inter and this year we won with Juve and Inter and drew with Milan. I think that from the point of view of big matches the team has improved.”
“When it comes to winning three games in a row in a week we still struggle,” he added.
“Dybala? Dybala came here motivated, with the dream of winning the World Cup and he did it, he feels important to us and he is, I think it’s all of this together. I’m happy because he’s a fantastic guy, humble, sensitive and he deserves all this affection.”